Aided by strong performances across event groups, the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team (3-0, 3-0 Ivy) defeated Columbia (2-2, 1-2) at Uris Pool on Friday night, extending its perfect record. However, despite what the final score of 170-130 suggests, the win did not come easily.
The Lions put up impressive times in several races to edge out the Crimson, whose main focus had been on the Texas Invitational two weeks away.
“[The meet] was actually tougher than we expected,” co-captain Chris Satterthwaite said. “We have been doing a lot of really good work in the pool and in the weight room getting ready for our championship in Texas. A lot of races came down to the finish, and Columbia out-touched us in a couple of those.”
Fierce competition between the two teams produced a plethora of close events. In the 400-yard medley relay, Harvard’s “A” team of freshmen Jack Manchester and Eric Ronda, along with sophomores Jacob Luna and Satterthwaite staged a big comeback in the anchor leg, winning with a new pool record of 3:20.41 and barely beating the Lions’ “A” team time of 3:20.45. Columbia returned the favor later with freshman Terry Li (1:39.68) edging out Crimson junior Zach Walters (1:39.96) in the very last seconds of the 200 freestyle.
“Before we knew it, at about the halfway mark, we were only up by six points,”
Satterthwaite said. “[The margin] was a lot closer than what we were comfortable with, so the coaches, [co-captain] Oliver [Lee,] and I rallied the guys together … we made a push going into the second half of the meet, and ended up coming out on top.”
The freshmen continued to mark their presence on the team. Manchester, a backstroke specialist, raced in four events and picked up three victories—the 400 IM relay, 100 backstroke (50.41), and 200 backstroke (1:47.93). Classmate Cliff Goertemiller, a distance freestyle swimmer, put his expertise on display by claiming both the 1000 (9:20.84) and 500 (4:33.68) freestyle races.
Diver Michael Mosca continued his dominance on the board, winning both the one-meter and three-meter events. Mosca is undefeated in both events through meets against Dartmouth, Cornell, and Columbia.
The competition had its own share of unsung heroes as well, those who did not clinch individual victories but added points to Harvard’s total nevertheless. Junior Mike Gaudiani competed in three long-distance individual events: the 500 free, the 1000-yard free, and the 400 individual medley. Gaudiani scored decisive points for Harvard, coming in fourth in the 500-yard freestyle and second in the 1000-yard freestyle.
“[Gaudiani’s races] were the three toughest individual races offered,” Satterthwaite said. “It was very impressive for him to pull off that triple.”
With the second-half Crimson surge, a 1-3-4-5 finish in the 500 freestyle led by Goertemiller coupled with Harvard teams finishing 1-3-4 in the 200 freestyle relay sealed the Crimson win. The victorious 200 freestyle relay team of junior Griffin Schumacher, senior Danny Crigler, Lee, and Satterthwaite topped off the meet in style, shattering another Uris Pool record.
The team credits the coaching staff—which included some substantial turnover from last year—for its early-season success. For the 2013-2014 campaign, Kevin Tyrrell has been promoted to head coach, while Samantha Pitter has joined the Crimson as an assistant after five seasons at MIT.
“[Tyrrell and Pitter] are doing a really great job,” Satterthwaite said. “They are putting some new energy into the team and getting us excited about the season. All that is very much appreciated.”
Harvard has its sight now set on the Texas Invitational, which will bring many of the nation’s top swimming and diving programs together at the University of Texas from Dec. 5th to 7th. And while it is several months away, the team ultimately hopes to use it to avenge its loss at the Ivy League Championships last spring.
“We look good,” Satterthwaite said. “Our guys are swimming faster at this point in the season than they were last year…we are pleased with how the season has been going thus far, but our main goal of the season is to win Ivies, and especially to beat Princeton at Ivies. To prepare for that, we are definitely eager to swim in some of the more challenging meets like [the Texas Invitational].”
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